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WTF, Internet? Celebrity ‘Instassistants’ just tilted a level playing field

WTF Internet 10_13_2013

I have been known to frequent the Instagrams of some celebrities – your DMXs, your Anna Kendricks, your Lebron Jameses. And I often find myself wondering, “How do they get these hands-free selfies?”

There are various athletes doing their thing, no hands. Famous females always seem to be perfectly, casually captured and uploaded in all their filtered glory – both arms in the shot. Don’t even get me started on the magnificence that is Beyonce’s seemingly spur of the moment-filled Tumblr. How do they do it?!

Here’s how: A cocktail of absolute, self-adoring narciscissm … and “Instassistants.” Yes, taking Instagram shots for celebrities can be a full-time job.

Now I can’t say that any of these stars actually used an Instassistant, but it would definitely make sense. There’s no way these rich jerks are using their iPhone’s timer, getting it perfectly propped up on books across the room, and sprinting to the destination point – just to get that perfect Instagram! No way, no how.

Instead, they have a person to do that Insta’ dirty work for them. This person’s – I’m sorry, this … Instassistant’s – entire job consists of carrying around an iPhone and being ready at any and all times to capture the majesty that is their employer. Rihanna’s got one; not a job I relish. From the looks of that Instagram feed, you’re living in a constant haze of secondhand smoke and frequenting strip clubs often enough to give you a complex of some sort.

A handful of models are rumored to employ these Instassistants as well. Arguably they just aren’t used to being behind a camera, even when they’re still technically in the photograph.

The idea is that these people in the public eye want to feed their adoring fans a controlled, calculated, beautiful image of themselves. Case in point: Beyonce’s intense, stringent regulation of published photographers. (Please do not strike me down for speaking out against her holiness!) After her performance at the 2012 Super Bowl produced some … rather unflattering photos (that were actually totally awesome – did you see that muscle striation? Girl is strong­), her press people attempted to wipe them from the Internet. If you Google “Beyonce Super Bowl,” some of the first pictures that come up are the ones team Bey wanted erased forever.

beyonceFirst of all, requesting the Internet forget something? Have you heard of the Streisand effect? Tell us we can’t see something and it shall be burned into our brains. Sometimes, when I think about Beyonce, this pops into my head:

That’s on you, Bey. (Again, I’m so sorry, I worship you, please do not forsake me.)

Of course I still stalk her on Tumblr like a sicko – if I could be a celebrity couple, I would be Jay and Bey. But it doesn’t feel like I’m getting to know her anymore than I did before … it feels exactly like looking through a Vogue photo shoot.

Instagram is supposed to be the great democratic tool of photography. It put us all on a level playing field: Don’t have a $2,000 camera? Is Photoshop too daunting or expensive? Is your Wi-Fi so slow that uploading an entire album  would be a worse fate than death? Don’t worry: There’s Instagram. A simple, easy, accessible way to make, share, and see beautiful photos. There’s a difference between handing a stranger you phone to take a snap you’re in really quick; there’s another in uploading a constant feed of grandiose selfies.

Instagram is about humblebragging; we all show off using the app. Here’s a gorgeous cocktail I’m enjoying; the hotel I’m staying at in Hawaii; my adorable dog – all looking fierce thanks to some filter love, might I add. But we’re already jealous of celebrities! You make millions, you’re beautiful, and you have idyllic lives! Why must you rub it in my face even more with these manufactured Instagrams?!

So just stop it. We get it; you’re superhumans with great faces and perfect existences. Everything about your image is crafted to be just so – will it really kill you to have one little thing that isn’t? Can’t we just have a tiny piece of you that’s unfiltered (pun so intended)?

But if you can’t be convinced, I’d like to apply to be Chris Pratt‘s Instassistant. I think we’d get along really well, and I promise I’d never use Kelvin.

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Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
WTF, Internet? We don’t need B.S. surveys to typecast women as Facebook-obsessed divas
wtf internet we dont need b s surveys to typecast women as facebook obsessed divas wft

The last time I tried to write an article that made a fairly agreed-upon, tongue-in-cheek assessment about some of the problems with how we portray and regard “women in tech,” this happened. So trust me when I say this is not something I enjoy talking about. It’s like all the Internet’s jerks are hibernating in their Gollum caves, and then an alarm sounds that some woman, somewhere, has published the words “women in tech,” and they come barreling out of their hovels, heading for the comment section without a backward glance.
But apparently I’m going to do it anyway, so let’s just get it all out there right now: Yep, I’ve got lady parts, you may or may not, and you hate me and everything I’m about to say. Also, I definitely just want to get married and have babies and buy shoes. You nailed it! You got me!
Why did no one talk to any dudes? Do men not need closet space?!
Moving on: Apparently a recent survey done by U.K. furniture retailer Sharps Bedroom found that because of Facebook and Instagram photos, women feel the need to constantly update their wardrobes. Even soon after buying new clothes, we feel they are old, because of sites like Facebook and Instagram.
This Daily Mail article about this is the only source of information because Sharps Bedroom (a totally legit survey source, for sure) simply has a blog post about how the findings of this survey mean you need more storage space. The link to the “recent survey” just loops you back to the Daily Mail article. Which really nails it with the intro:
“As many men are well aware, women need little encouragement to shop for new clothes.”
Come on, nameless Daily Mail Reporter, pull us into the bigotry. Don’t lead with it!
It goes on to explain that “thanks to the masses of photographs posted on sites such as Facebook and Instagram, many women deem their clothes old soon after buying them.”
Now for the question portion of our evening.
Question 1: This “on sites such as Facebook and Instagram” is a little confusing – do you just mean posted on any social media site? Or the Internet? Just that seeing clothes online at all in almost any capacity makes women go all googly-eyed and start hitting up Amazon like there’s no tomorrow? Once again, I would seriously love to see the actual survey and find out what in God’s name you’re getting at here. Does this have to do with the influx of clothing-related photos being posted to social sites, the general increase in this content on the Internet as a whole, or perhaps the very visual social campaigns that brands are running? Would love some answers.
Question 2: What exactly is it about social networks that make us go buy new clothes? Is it that we’re inspired by seeing other users’ styles or that once we show up online in an outfit, we don’t want to repeat it?
Question 3: Um, did you guys even ask any men to participate in this survey?
Because I did! And guess what – their answers sound a lot like the answers of the women I asked. Basically both sexes admitted that yes, photos of them on Facebook and Instagram make them more conscious of what they wear; i.e., if you wore outfit one to a party last weekend where a lot of photos were taken and shared, you probably won’t wear the same thing. However, most people (people) agreed that “the masses of photographs posted on sites such as Facebook and Instagram” weren’t the largest motivators to shop.
… But even if they were, why did no one talk to any dudes? Do men not need closet space?! To suggest men don’t need closet space is just downright offensive. That is the biggest tragedy here.
I guess no one thought about the fact that men are actually more engaged social shoppers as well as motivational and impulsive shoppers. Maybe because of these things, they're also highly influenced or motivated by “the masses of photographs posed on sites such as Facebook and Instagram” (I’m sorry I keep repeating this phrase, it’s just too wonderfully vague, meaningless, and undefined to let go of) to go buy clothes. 
This has been my long-winded way of calling these two publishers out – and B.S. surveys everywhere.
Sure, generally speaking, women buy more clothes, and according to pop culture, we like to go to malls and carry as many bags as can possibly fit on our arms. But to try and make this “SEEING PRETTY PICTURES ON THE INTERNET MAKES LADIES EMPTY THEIR PURSES” statement (and backing it up with said possibly non-existent survey) is pretty irresponsible. It’s just adding fuel to an already unstoppable fire of misogyny.
With that, I will leave you to it, commenters. I know you've got a lot of work to do.

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WTF, Internet? Technology is trying to make us even fatter than we already are
feedme delivery aggregator wtf internet online food

If you are, like me, a United States citizen, then you, like me, are aware that we are a nation of fatty fat fatties. Seriously, we like our fast food and we like it super-sized, greasy, and on the regular.
The Internet just goes hand-in-hand with this gluttony. I'm a healthy person who runs every day and drinks the appropriate amount of water, but there's something about a a Netflix-binge while trolling Reddit AMAs and GIF blogs from my laptop that makes me want an impressive amount of Taco Bell (Crunch Wrap Supreme and two Meximelts no pico sauce, please and thanks!) laid before me. Heaven is some multi-screen overdosing accompanied by fourth meal, I swear.
So while I won't judge you souls who want an infinite supply of Mountain Dew to accompany your hours-long COD sessions or a jumbo supply of Sour Patch Kids to absentmindedly eat while you stare at your online homework, I will call out the suppliers who are preying on our salt and sweet cravings with yet more technological bait.
To wit, Chili's has tested tabletop tablets so that you can keep on ordering even if your waiter or waitress is otherwise occupied.
Yes, there is a convenience factor: You can immediately order and pay without human interaction, so after shoveling mozzarella sticks and a Triple Dipper into your mouth - salad on the side - you can get the eff outta there (to go buy a lifetime supply of Tums).
I promise, I will consume your terrible foods, no need to shove a tablet under my nose to make it easier.
But - shockingly - the idea is also to get you to buy and thus eat more of the product. It's like little kids with those iPhone games; $20 for a new sticker? I want seven! According to a report, Chili's execs said "dessert sales increased by as much as 20 percent" and a jump in the per-person average of the checks.
Because who needs social shame when they want to order that second brownie sundae?
The most famous purveyor of fast food burgers, McDonald's, is testing a new mobile payment app so that you can order your meal before even going through the drive-thru. Then, you can just drive-thru and pick up food.
Because who has time to wait 30 seconds for a bag of burgers?
In perhaps the most ambitious ploy of them all, Burger King is testing a delivery service in select areas. Customers can order online or by phone between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m., as long as you're buying at least $10 worth of BK (which is a lot of BK). Apparently it's boosted sales.
Because who wants to actually leave their house after a bout of day drinking and subsequent craving for The King?
I'm not preaching some crazed message that we should all shop at Whole Foods and cut out carbs and do crossfit (ugh) and do the whole paleo diet thing (also, no, never ever ever ever). I'll be completely honest: It's 10 a.m. and I'm eatingchocolate covered gummy bears - because I'm writing this article and working, and having something to mindlessly gnaw on is part of the creative process (I'm pretty sure, look it up).
But that's the problem. There are, oh I don't know, say a million different things that are already there to encourage me to eat horribly. I already look at a screen enough, OK? I promise, I will consume your terrible foods, no need to shove a tablet under my nose to make it easier.
Easier, and more discreet. The subtle shame of having to say out loud "I would like... four Whoppers" is gone if you order online and get delivery. That third sugar-laden appletini might be embarrassing, but if you can tap your way there, then by all means, get yours!
Maybe some barriers are OK to have. If you want these foods - or a superfluous amount of them - you have to have the balls to own up to wanting them, not hide behind an app. It's the only thing separating us from the human society in Wall-E, right?
Let's just save a tiny ounce of self-respect. This is why we're hot fat. 

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WTF, Internet? Why do Twitter’s ‘verified’ users get nice things and we don’t?
wtf internet why do twitters verified users get nice things and we dont twitter

There are two types of people in this world: The verified and the unverified. Those lucky souls Twitter chooses to bestow that little blue mark upon are on a whole other level than us normals; they are those of the paid-to-tweet variety, those called "social-media experts" who fought their way to 25,000+ followers, those whose fame lands their tweets in weekly "celebrities say the darndest things!" round ups.
Just face it: They are the specials, and our hilarious and insightful Twitter musings will go unnoticed in their shadows. Now Twitter is giving them yet more power: The ability to ignore the rest of us!
We're like the ugly stepchildren Twitter has to love and shelter but only because the state says so.

"We're be rolling out the ability for verified users to go to their Connect tab on the Web and toggle between mentions in three categories," Twitter says. "All, filtered, and verified."
"Selecting 'Filtered' will show mentions based on an algorithm we use to filter out spam, and choosing 'Verified' means they'll only see mentions from other accounts."
Twitter says this new feature is being rolled out to its favorite children because they're involved in such a large number of conversations. Humblebrag much?. "Ooooh it's just soooo hard being soooo popular! Help me Twitter, help me! Save me from my adoring masses!"
I'm no Twitter celebrity, but I would appreciate this feature, thanks for not asking, Twitter. My measly 1,751 followers spam the bejesus out of me, too. I'd love a tool that filters this out so I don't waste time trying to decide if @hle0xor8er is a real person or if that link is B.S.
Unfortunately, I'm neither a celebrity nor a politician; I don't own a ridiculously cute pet or tweet pictures of my unmentionables. I'm not smart enough to ever make that timely parody account first and try as I have might, my hilarious pieces of repartee with Twitter elite have never landed me a spot in any "the best responses to ___" listicles. Thus, I - like so many of you - am banished to the dark corners of Twitter.
We're like the ugly stepchildren Twitter has to love and shelter but only because the state says so. We don't get any special treatment; we get the hand-me-downs, months after The Verifieds have enjoyed wearing them out.
Honestly, I don't even want that little blue check mark anymore - I just want the same treatment! Tear down this wall, Mr. Costolo, and give me a filter so I can ignore spammers, too! Because honestly, I don't have enough energy to care about getting 25,000 followers.
Furthermore - it's the principle of the thing! (Why yes, I did just indignantly stand straight up, pointing my index finger for emphasis - which is what anyone is required to do when saying, "It's the principle of the thing.") Twitter is constantly selling itself as the public square, where everyone is welcome to participate,true democratic discussion in action!
Now there's a caste system, because you just introduced a feature so that verified users can sit atop their towers and ignore our pleas for but 140 characters of their attention. Here's an idea: If you don't want your fans to have quick and easy text-based access to you ... don't get a Twitter account! Isn't that the entire idea? Do celebrities and notable figures need a mass public communication tool so that they can talk to each other? Go use Google+, I swear, no one will find you guys.
The Verified can keep their special privileges and Twitter, it's OK: You can, deep down, love them more. Fine, secretly give them little benefits (which I imagine are things like satin Twitter logo team jackets with their handles printed on the back and invitations to secret parties in Jack Dorsey's underwater castle), but don't publicly insult all of us by rolling out features to them first.
I will resort to whining: It's just not faaaaaaaaair.

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